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'Enough is enough': Biden calls on lawmakers to take action after Uvalde school shooting

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WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on lawmakers to “stand up to the gun lobby” and take action following a deadly elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

“I had hoped when I became president, I would not have to do this again. Another massacre,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “Beautiful, innocent second, third and fourth graders.”

“As a nation, we have to ask ourselves, ‘when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby,’” the president continued.

'Tragic and senseless': At least 18 children killed in Texas elementary school shooting; gunman dead

At least 19 children were killed Tuesday, making it the deadliest shooting at a U.S. grade school since the 2012 attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Two teachers also died in the shooting in Texas.

Biden, who lost his first wife, Neilia, and baby daughter, Naomi, in a car accident in 1972 and his adult son Beau, to brain cancer in 2015, invoked his own experience with loss, saying “to lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away."

“There’s a hollowness in your chest, you feel like you’re being sucked into it," he continued.

President Joe Biden speaks to the nation about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, from the White House on Tuesday as first lady Jill Biden listens.
President Joe Biden speaks to the nation about the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, from the White House on Tuesday as first lady Jill Biden listens.

Prior to his speech, Biden issued a proclamation ordering flags to be flown at half-staff through Saturday to honor the victims of the school shooting.

Bloodshed since Sandy Hook: Uvalde school shooting among deadliest school attacks in past 10 years

While aboard Air Force One on Tuesday, Biden spoke on the phone with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott “to offer any and all assistance he needs in the wake of the horrific shooting in Uvalde, TX,” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote in a tweet.

During his remarks, Biden said Americans have to make it clear to every elected official that it’s time to act on gun control.

“I am sick and tired of it. We have to act," Biden said. "Don’t tell me we can’t have an impact on this carnage.”

Biden ended his remarks by offering prayers to the parents who are "trying to figure out will I be able to sleep again" and are questioning what happens tomorrow.

"God bless the loss of innocent life on this sad day," Biden said. "May the Lord be near the brokenhearted and save those crushed in spirit because they're going to need a lot of help, a lot of our prayers."

More: It's not just Uvalde, Texas — gunfire on school grounds is at historic highs in the US

Reach Rebecca Morin on Twitter @RebeccaMorin_

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Uvalde: Biden calls on lawmakers to 'stand up to the gun lobby'